August Can Jam: Tomato Butter

blanched tomatoes

Once again, I’m right up against the deadline for this month’s Can Jam. I didn’t intend for it to work out this way. In fact, I made a batch of Tomato Jam last week, based on my friend Amy’s recipe, thinking that it could be my contribution to the month’s challenge. It’s a delicious recipe and I may end up posting it at some point down the line.

However, I had this other idea tickled the back of my brain. Remember when I announced that it was my summer of butters? Well, it’s been awhile since I made one. And I had this idea that tomatoes might make a nice butter.

peeled tomatoes

I started with a little over five pounds of Lancaster County tomatoes. Blanched, cored and peeled, I fed them into my Vitamix so that I had a chunky raw puree (if you don’t have a Vitamix, you could either pulse them in the food processor or take a potato masher to them).

tomato pulp

Using my beloved slow cooker, I let the 10 cups of pulp cook down without any spices or sugar overnight and for an entire workday. It wound up being approximately 18 hours of cooking. Look closely at the next picture, you can see the rings from the cooking down process.

cooking down lines

When I got home from work today, I had a bit less than four cups of cooked tomato, a far cry from the 10+ cups I started out with. Using an immersion blender, I whirred in some honey, brown sugar, lemon juice and zest and an array of my typical jam/fruit butter spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In the hopes of giving this butter a little zip, I also included 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne. Not so much to make it unpleasant, just to give it a little extra interest.

tomato butter

When all was done, I had a spread that was a bit sweet, but not cloying, with a nice spice profile. Consistency-wise, it’s quite similar to ketchup, but without the familiar vinegar-y zing. I’m looking forward to pairing this butter with a dab of goat cheese and seeing how it works on flatbread with caramelized onions. How would you use it?

Tomato Butter

Yield: 2 Pints

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds tomatoes, peeled and pureed (approxiately 10 cups)
  • 1 1/3 cups honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Put the tomato puree in a slow cooker. Cook on low, with the lid propped on a chopstick or wooden spoon laid across the rim of the cooker, for 12-18 hours, until the tomato puree has reduced by more than half.
  2. When most the liquid has cooked off and the tomato puree is quite thick, add the honey, brown sugar, spices and lemon juice and zest. Using an immersion blender, puree the butter into a smooth spread (if you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully transfer the butter into a blender or bowl of a food processor and carefully puree).
  3. Fill jars, wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (start time when water has returned to a boil).
  4. When time is up, remove jars from canner and let cool on a towel-lined counter. When jars are cool, remove rings and test seals. Store in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
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76 Responses to August Can Jam: Tomato Butter

  1. 51

    [...] Tomato Butter – It sounds weird, but really it’s [...]

  2. 52
    Juliet Glass says:

    I made both tomato butter and cultured butter this weekend and ate them together on a baked potato. Bliss! Next up will be tomato butter with some spiced lamb burgers and a thickened garlicky yogurt sauce.

  3. 53

    [...] The Larger heirlooms might become tomato butter. [...]

  4. 54
    Madeleine says:

    OOOhhh I am so excited for it to be done! I used our garden’s yellow tomatoes. I love the idea of using it on eggs – mmmm Janice Cole’s baked egg recipe just got better. I am going to use it as part of a pork tenderloin marinade/rub. I hope I make more than one can – must spread the wealth!

  5. 55
    Leone says:

    I love your web-site and love tomatoes, and we grow a lot. This year I have bottled V-8 juice & tomato soup. As to the concerns in the comments about bottled lemon juice vs fresh lemon juice this article is great information and will calm anyone’s worries about fresh lemon juice. http://agardenerstable.com/2011/04/19/real-lemon-versus-realemon/

  6. 56

    [...] the very end of the season, I managed to make a very small batch of Tomato Butter in the crockpot with the last of my CSA tomatoes. I just made it and stuck it in the fridge. It [...]

  7. 57

    [...] didn’t go exactly as well as expected. I had tomatoes cooking down in my slow cooker for this tomato butter when I realized that the canning rack I bought wasn’t going to fit in my pot. After a bit of [...]

  8. 58

    [...] apple butter (and pear butter and even tomato butter, which I’m sorely tempted to try), Peach Butter is somewhere between “jam” and [...]

  9. 59
  10. 60

    [...] We found $.77/lb tomatoes this week at a local grocery store. About 1 pound of tomatoes goes into a pint jar; so we did 14-15 jars to get us through the winter (chili and pasta, yum!) and will be doing a jar or two of tomato butter tomorrow. [...]

  11. 61
    Janet says:

    The yummy way to eat tomato butter jam is on toasted English Muffin with peanut
    butter and tomato butter spread. Really tasty.

  12. 62
    Sarah Puleo says:

    I can’t wait to try out this recipe tonight! Sounds like something I am going to put on everything.

  13. 63

    [...] This looks closest to my Grandmothers recipe. Really good on mac & cheese, but tons of uses!! August Can Jam: Tomato Butter – Food in Jars | Food in Jars __________________ I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping [...]

  14. 64
    Ellie Baron says:

    The slow cooker is brilliant! I used it to cook down tomatoes into a beautiful tomato sauce. Ingredients: tomatoes. That’s it. Amazing! So here is my question – if I wanted to can just this sauce made of tomatoes, with no other ingredients (no sugar, nutmeg, cloves, etc), what do I need to do to ensure it is canned safely? Can I just add the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, or is there something else needed?

  15. 65
    Andrea Burrows says:

    Do you think using unpeeled cherry tomatoes would work? That’s about all I’ve got ripening here in the Pacific Northwest.

    • 65.1
      Marisa says:

      The point of a butter is in part its smoothness, so you wouldn’t want to use unpeeled tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes would work, but not without peeled or running them through a food mill.

  16. 66

    [...] The tomato butter recipe is another one that I’m not sure what I’m actually going to do with. But it’s tasty. And I’m glad I made it. This one came from Food in Jars. [...]

  17. 67

    [...] check out her site, Food In Jars- lots of different intriguing recipes. I’m enamored with her Tomato Butter recipe, sounds strange and [...]

  18. 68
    Carmen says:

    I made this last summer. Gave out all but one jar. Well, I had a dinner dilemma I had some beef that needed to be cooked. Well, I browned it and then threw my tomato butter in with beef broth and wine and some veggies. Let’s just say, was on the hunt again for this recipe!! This time I will print it out. Thanks Melissa for all your expiraments!!

  19. 69
    anna nissen says:

    Use in baked beans! My grandmother’s recipe, which I have misplaced and am looking for a duplicate, uses some vinegar, no honey, and lots of the spices you mentioned plus the sugar. It makes the best baked bean dish ever! Mix in the tomato butter before putting the beans in the oven.

  20. 70
    Christy says:

    Made this last weekend, and my coworkers love it! I just wish mine was thicker; I ended up cooking it in the slow-cooker for *26 hours* (yikes!) and it was still a bit runny. Did I do something wrong?

    • 70.1
      Marisa says:

      I don’t think you did anything wrong! There’s a lot of variety in the water content of tomatoes, and so it may be that your tomatoes were just really watery. You can always cook it longer to make it thicker.

  21. 71

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    [...] the very end of the season, I managed to make a very small batch of Tomato Butter in the crockpot with the last of my CSA tomatoes. I just made it and stuck it in the fridge. It [...]

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